Those of you that read our breakfast bread blog will know that every now and again Elldrew love a hearty home-made weekend breakfast, and never more so than when a friend comes and visits from overseas and we’ve been up chatting into the early hours. On these occasions we like to wake our guests up with the smell of Elldrew’s famous Bacon Twists (courtesy of Lorraine Pascale) wafting through the house. Having done just that last weekend, and with the festive season soon upon us, we thought we’d share the recipe to inspire other readers entertaining visitors.
Elldrew’s [hungover] version of Lorraine’s famous ‘Bacon Twists‘ (this recipe makes 8 twists).
- 1 x 375g/13oz puff pastry – I use ready rolled puff pastry (so does Lorraine) – I’m sure you can make your own but really Elldrew don’t think it’s worth the effort when you can buy it so easily. Also remember, if you’re making these, you’re probably hungover and not in the mood to make puff pastry
- Mustard (Elldrew use a combination of English & French Seed)
- 100g/3½oz mature cheddar, grated
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 rashers of bacon
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Take the pastry out the fridge. It needs around 15 minutes to come to room temperature so whilst you’re doing that put on the kettle and clear the work surface of the detritus from last night. Handy hint here is that if you can’t find your rolling pin then just keep one of those empty bottles to hand (but not Jack Daniels, its square shape doesn’t roll pastry very well).
- Lorraine suggests rolling out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. If you buy ready rolled pastry (like we do) then you don’t really need to do this step, just unroll the pastry onto the plastic sheet it comes rolled in. If we’re up to it then a quick once over with the empty wine bottle/rolling pin helps to get the pastry a bit thinner and make it a bit bigger thereby facilitating an extra twisty (you’ll be grateful for this extra one later on, trust me). If you do this just roll it on the plastic; it doesn’t really stick and, regardless, Sunday mornings aren’t the time to be dusting anything with flour.
- According to Lorraine, Step 3 is something about turning the pastry so it’s facing the right direction to lay the bacon on it. This is all a bit complicated when your head’s pounding so just keep it facing the same way and spread mustard over the pastry. Stop. Put down that knife that you’re thinking of using and use the back of a spoon for this – it’s easier; prevents any erroneous cutting through your pastry and lets you scoop out big firey spoonfuls of mustard. How much mustard is down to personal preference – Elldrew like it spicy and find that a blend of hot English and French seeded mustard adds a nice kick to help wake you up.
- About now you want to grate some cheese over it but you should also be mindful that in a short while you need to move that pastry to a surface that you can cut on. Elldrew are lucky and have a versatile stone work-surface so no moving required but if you don’t then place it (plastic and all) onto a suitable surface. Now grate that cheese. The recipe says 100grams but Elldrew aren’t cheese weighers so we just grate until it looks about right. The official recipe also talks about using lovely mature cheddar but in Elldrew’s version this is about soaking up last night’s alcohol consumption so just use whatever cheese is in the fridge. Grind a generous helping of black pepper over it.
- Now’s the time to layer the bacon. You can go all fancy with prosciutto or some other Mediterranean smoked meat but unless you’re a really good planner that means having shopped ahead. Elldrew just grab whatever bacon is lying around (often the overpriced cheap bacon from the local corner shop that you ran to at 10.45 last night when you needed one more bottle of wine!). Layer it top to toe; see our picture as it’s easier than trying to explain.
- Now cut the pastry between each slice of bacon and take a big swig of coffee because now comes the tricky part…carefully twist each piece of pastry until it looks like a curly straw. It’s easiest if you don’t try and pick the whole thing up, just start by twisting one corner (the inner corner so that you’re twisting away from the rest of the pastry) and then rolling it diagonally 4 or 5 times.
- Put the twisty onto a lined baking tray. Remember you haven’t lined the baking tray so put the twisty down and go line it with baking paper (don’t try and line the baking tray whilst holding the twisty – it’ll go horribly wrong. We know because we’ve tried it).
- Repeat until you have no more pastry or bacon or are bored. Leave a little bit of space between each twisty because they’ll expand but because you’re probably hungover don’t leave too much space so that you have to go through the process of lining a second baking tray. Your guests really won’t be bothered if they’re stuck together a little bit.
- Put the whole tray into the fridge for them to firm up. Now put the oven onto 220C (fan oven)/Gas 7.
- Once the oven’s hot (about 15-20 minutes) take the twists out of the fridge and brush them with a little of the beaten egg. It won’t be the end of the world if you forget to do this, they just won’t look quite so pretty.
- Put the tray straight into the oven and turn down the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6 (I love this trick of Lorraine’s as it gives the twists a great big blast of heat when they first go in and makes them twist and puff gorgeously).
- Leave them for around 20-25 minutes until they’re risen and golden. During this period you will likely find that some of your overnight guests will appear looking a little dishevelled, having been woken by the smell. You can let them know breakfast’s 20 minutes away so they can go and freshen themselves up.
- Take the twists out of the oven and leave them to cool, although in all likelihood they’ll be devoured by your house-guests before they’ve had a chance to cool.
- Now send everyone off for showers and to get ready for a bracing Autumnal walk, after all, splashing around in the mud is so much more fun with a hangover!
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